About her work with clients, Jude Rittenhouse explains:
"I am committed to compassionately supporting people as they discover and gather insights, as they search for and find their unique answers to the questions: 'Who am I? Who am I now? Who am I really?'
"I am supported in this work by decades of training in traditional and alternative approaches to wellness. Thus I am able to provide a sturdy, safe, and flexible container for those navigating turbulent waters - places where difficulties transform into paths of light.
"I also bring my own life-journey: the archetypal path of the wounded healer. During forty+ years of inner work, I've navigated dark nights of the soul, discovering the light that waited patiently within. This passage developed my capacity to be impeccably present with those who are traversing their own challenging territory."
Along with her commitments to writing and teaching, Ms. Rittenhouse has a holistic private practice in Westerly, Rhode Island. She received a Master’s Degree in Counseling, completed the intensive four-year training to become a Nondual Kabbalistic Healer, and has extensive further training in trauma and attachment, including Diane Poole Heller’s “Attachment and Trauma Mastery” program, plus several trauma trainings by the National Institute for the Clinical Application of Behavioral Medicine (NICABM). She also has twenty five years of experience as an expressive arts facilitator.
Rittenhouse has been a case manager and hotline counselor at a domestic violence shelter in Connecticut and a bereavement counselor and support group facilitator at a hospice agency in Rhode Island. Prior to focusing on writing and human services, she had a ten-year career in marketing in Chicago, Milwaukee, and Boulder.
Throughout the past several decades, Rittenhouse has taken on pro-bono work, individually and through not-for-profit agencies, in order to give back to her communities. After moving from Illinois to Rhode Island, for over a decade she offered a monthly writing workshop at a domestic violence shelter. During those sessions, she helped survivors learn how to use writing as a tool for healing and growth. Currently, she facilitates a bi-monthly “Women Empowering Each Other” group in Westerly, RI.
In recognition of her work, Rittenhouse received a 1996 “Women Making History Award” from Prairie Moon Academy in Illinois and a 2008 “Visionary Award” from the Domestic Violence Resource Center of South County (DVRCSC) Rhode Island. The later included certificates of recognition from Rhode Island’s Senators and Attorney General.
An award-winning poet, short-story, and non-fiction writer, Jude Rittenhouse is also a teacher, speaker, and holistic practitioner with a Master’s degree in Counseling. For over twenty years, she has been helping others learn how to use their creativity to achieve positive change and growth.
Her commitment to helping people ease into deeper connection and greater wholeness permeates all of her work, including her writing.
Ms. Rittenhouse was first published in 1978. She has received poetry awards from Glimmer Train Press and Poets & Patrons of Chicago, an honorable mention from the Emily Dickinson Poetry Award committee, and her poems have been finalists multiple times for both the Pablo Neruda Award and the Tiferet Poetry Prize. She has also been a finalist for Tiferet's Non-Fiction Prize. She received a Writers Grant from the Vermont Studio Center based on her poetry.
Her work has been published in literary magazines and anthologies, including Nimrod International Journal; Tiferet: Literature, Art, & the Creative Spirit; Narrative Northeast; Balancing the Tides; River Oak Review; Crone’s Nest; Newport Review; Lay Bare the Canvas: New England Poets on Art (The Poetry Loft, RI, 2014); Her Mark 2001 and 2005 (Woman Made Gallery, Chicago), Inhabiting the Body (Woman Made Gallery with Moon Journal Press, 2002); The Kali Guide: A Directory of Resources for Women (Zenprint, 2002); Jane’s Stories II (Wild Dove Press, 2000); and several Tall Grass Writer’s Guild anthologies, among others.
In 2012, Rittenhouse was interviewed by award-winning writer Melissa Studdard for a radio program that explores the lives and ideas of internationally-known writers and spiritual leaders. Their conversation was included in The Tiferet Talk Interviews (2013) along with Studdard’s conversations with Julia Cameron (author of The Artist’s Way), Edward Hirsch (internationally-known poet), Robert Pinsky (former U.S. Poet Laureate), Dr. Bernie Siegel and others.
Her books include two chapbooks: Magician’s Daughter: From the Ashes (Silent Sea Press, 1996, out of print); and Living In Skin (Forest Song Press, 2009). Her full-length manuscripts, Gaia’s Daughters and Languages of Light, are currently submitted.
Rittenhouse has worked as an editor and was a founding co-editor for the Illinois-based feminist literary magazine, Moon Journal, during its decade-plus in publication. Moon Journal and chapbooks published by Moon Journal Press are archived in the Sophia Smith Collection at Smith College.
During her years in Illinois, Rittenhouse edited public relations materials and newsletters for not-for-profit organizations, including Women In Need Growing Stronger and Northwest Action Against Rape. After moving to Rhode Island, she edited a newsletter for an environmental association.
During the past twenty-five+ years, Rittenhouse has provided editorial services to individuals on their poetry, non-fiction, and fiction manuscripts. In addition to many shorter works, she has edited two published books: Meeting The Grand Dame: The Journey Through Breast Cancer and Beyond (by Joy Veaudry and Helen Quade) and The Ten Commandments for a Healthy Lifestyle (nonfiction by Dr. Perry Wolk-Weiss).
Along with writing and editing, Rittenhouse has been involved with numerous collaborative arts projects, including many ekphrastic events. In her twenty years since moving to New England, collaborative endeavors have included readings at Arts Cafe-Mystic, participation in the Loft Poetry Anthology’s reading at the Providence Athenaeum, readings at the Wickford Art Museum, The Westerly Artists’ Cooperative, and other locations. She was also a poet for the multi-arts project “Gaia’s Lament” (New London, 2015), the ekphrastic event “Water Water Everywhere” (CU Avery Point, 2015), and the “Women’s Voices” exhibit (New London, 2000).
Jude’s awareness of the importance of multi-arts projects deepened in 1998, during her residency at the Vermont Studio Center. Through participating in these cross-fertilization-of-the-arts endeavors, she learned that, when the human creative spirit is presenced in many ways—when writers, artists, dancers and musicians work together—a mutually inspiring community nurtures and intensifies a heightened energy: a hive of creativity. The work that emerges from such connections attracts and inspires the wider community. Rittenhouse feels that this vortex of creative energy beckons people, invites them to join in, reconnect, and immerse themselves in the depths of our profoundly interconnected journey here on Earth.
Ms. Rittenhouse has been teaching creative writing, spiritual growth, and women's studies classes since 1993. Why she teaches is, perhaps, as important as the class topic.
While being interviewed by Melissa Studdard for The Tiferet Talk Interviews (8/17/2010), Rittenhouse spoke about the informing vision in her work. She explained that unity (rather than duality) is one of her core themes. She sees people as individual vehicles or vessels, each with unique gifts and capacities, each with their own journeys, yet she believes that all humans are extraordinarily intertwined. She sees this as the human paradox: we are separate from each other, yet inherently connected to each other and to Earth.
While some turn to spirituality or artistic expression to find answers to life’s paradoxes, for Rittenhouse, writing is a spiritual practice: a way to receive and reflect on what life (and death) present.
Through a process of curious exploration, she discovers meaning, guidance and transformation. Writing helps her stretch her capacity to bear human suffering as well as joy. Her transcribed journey then becomes a way to connect with and inspire others.
Through teaching and writing, Rittenhouse strives to support others. She recognizes that people struggle to feel in control of their lives and this struggle manifests as the desire to harness nature, deify logic, accumulate power and money, glorify competition, manipulate lives and delay death.
Rittenhouse believes that life’s challenges can also engender greater compassion. To her, contemporary world issues point to the need for conscious connection, cooperation, kindness and encouragement.
When we experience enough generous receptivity and nurturing support, Rittenhouse believes we grow our capacity for compassion. She says we can then discover that true strength is the capacity to have a relationship with our vulnerability. Rittenhouse calls this the truth about being human and she believes that, as we increase our capacity to bear our vulnerability, everything changes, relaxes into its rectified state.
In all her work, Rittenhouse seeks to strengthen the field in which the relational nature of life can flourish, making the world a more compassionate place. She feels this is worthy work for teachers, writers, and healers.